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Straight-talking Dane Coles says there's 'no blame game' in All Blacks camp

By Ned Lester
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Dane Coles of the All Blacks runs through drills during a New Zealand All Blacks Training Session at FMG Stadium on September 01, 2022 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The All Blacks have remained somewhat of a closed book in terms of what’s going on behind the scenes during what’s a historic period for the team.

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We’ve heard a lot of “this team is hurting” and “it’s tough” but nothing on what that looks like or how it’s being channelled into better on-field performances.

The coaches have named an unchanged starting XV for their second test against Argentina, but some adjustments on the bench have boosted the veteran presence to close the game out.

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Dane Coles is one player that Ian Foster has added to that closing unit and thankfully, he’s a straight talker. Speaking to media following the match day squad announcement, Coles provided some insight into how the camp is responding to the losses:

“I think there’s a process, after the game you always feel like the world’s ended,” he said. “And then I think the review and the accountability, it gives you solutions that you can actually get better in and fix up things that you’re not getting right.”

Accountability was a hot talking point, and Coles was adamant the All Blacks had a healthy and direct attitude amongst players when it came to pushing each other.

“I’ve been in a couple of teams where we’ve lost, and I think the thing at the moment is that there’s been no blame game or pointing the finger or people going rogue on their own.

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“It’s been a real collective buy-in to try and get the result and be consistent in our performance and that’s, I think, a real positive.”

The team remains optimistic and insist that they are on the right track, despite being in unfamiliar territory in terms of their losing record.

“You’ve just got to be clear and free, there’s a lot of stuff that’s happening but, in the end, just go out there, enjoy the occasion, just do your job, simple as that.

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“Unfortunately, it’s a place that this team hasn’t been in, so everyone’s just got to stand up, get accountability.

“If someone comes at you for not doing the job right, you’ve just got to get on with it and take the feedback on board.”

Coles recognised his role off the bench was a crucial one, after a disappointing final 20 minutes in last weekend’s test.

“I think the number one thing is getting solutions on how to close out games, win the game and get better in that.”

Saturday’s rematch between the All Blacks and Pumas will kick off at 7:05pm from FMG Stadium Waikato.

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